The path of recovery after harassment or sexual assault is unique for each individual. VA is here to provide support with resources, assistance and services, every step of the way.

“Your path of recovery is yours,” explained Erinn Izykowski, from the VA Assault and Harassment Prevention Office. There is no wrong door when seeking help after an incident of sexual assault or harassment, she explained.

Well-being and resilience

The goal of recovery is to restore well-being and build resilience – with positive social connections, social support, engagement, comfort and dignity – to rise above challenges, maintain hope, heal physically and emotionally, and thrive. VA provides tools and services that support this recovery.

Support

VA helps those recovering after an incident navigate their recovery journey by rallying support to ensure experiencers have access to care to nurture spirits and sustain healing. Safety, dignity and respect are paramount.

Safety, dignity and respect are paramount.

Help and hope

There is help and hope after sexual assault and harassment, and VA strives to raise awareness and connect survivors to those supportive resources. The Assault and Harassment Prevention Office VA and Community Resources Web page can be a good place to start. This site provides links to many VA and community support services including:

Through this holistic range of support, the survivor drives the pace and unique path of recovery that best serves them, explained Izykowski.

Some prefer religious support from chaplaincy, some connect with mental health providers and others relate best to their primary care provider or other clinicians. At VA, experiencers have access to whomever they are comfortable talking with and they can also access services outside VA, if that is their preference.

Challenging misconceptions

Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, race or ethnicity. Challenging misconceptions surrounding sexual violence remains an important effort in combatting these incidents, explained Dr. Steven L. Lieberman, VA deputy under secretary for Health.

Taking the White Ribbon VA pledge is one way to show your commitment to support those who have experienced sexual assault or harassment. You can document your commitment on the White Ribbon USA website.

Show your support

“The commitment you take by taking the White Ribbon VA pledge is the stance we all must abide by to end sexual violence,” Lieberman explained.

To learn more about White Ribbon VA, please watch this 2-minute video.

By Lelia Jackson is the director of the VHA Assault and Harassment Prevention Office

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Published on Jun. 17, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

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